Reading a COMPUTE Gazette from 1988, and they had just done a survey of their readers. This was a publication aimed at C64/128 users.

9 out of 10 respondents reported programing their computer (20% in assembly). That is a startlingly different user base from now. No wonder people thought everyone was going to want to program their computers.

@dl and the reason it was only 20% using Assembler is likely to be that BITD comparatively few could afford disk drives, assembler software wasn't cheap either, and reloading from tape after a minor source code error crashed the whole computer took a *lot* of time and wasn't really practical for any larger projects...

@dl Instead we got Windows. (And MacOS, but there was at least HyperCard.)

Military and media historian Friedrich Kittler points out that the structure of our computers shows their military origins and is therefore inherently hierarchic and against self-empowerment; there would have been other possibilities.

@dl Arguably, 8-bit computer makers' belief that "people are going to want program their computers" was the reason that happened at all. Computers shipped with BASIC in ROM. Most machines didn't come with application software. If you didn't buy anything except the computer itself, programming was about all you could actually do with it!

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